This is the first room I worked on, starting with the staircase. I wanted it to look different from the straight staircase that came with the house and after trying out many options this is how it turned out.
A friend who works as a carpenter in yacht building gave me a large quantity of wood which would otherwise be discarded. All beautiful teak.
I've used some veneer on the staircase and to make some parquet flooring. For the bottom three steps of the staircase I used 2 mm thick veneer which I bent using steam. For the floor I took my inspiration from Versailles, geometric patterns within large rectangles. The floor has been glued onto card, sanded down and waxed. It was a very time consuming job, but I think worth the effort.
The angle at which so saw the banister was a true mystery to me. Many times I thought: 'Yes, now I know', and just as many times I've sawn the banister in half at the wrong angle. Finally I reverted to my own method: just cut it by eye, sand it until it fits, glue and then sand some more. Very effective.
July 2005: Jaap (the carpenter) explained to me that what I wanted to do with the banister -putting two parts together at a different angle- is impossible. In real life a specially cut angled piece (I don't know the English carpenters term for it) is fitted between the two parts of the banister. No wonder I found it so difficult to make!
The panelling and the doors are also made of teak wood. The door to the dining-room I made myself. Teak does not have a very fine grain, which caused me a few problems especially while making the door handles. In the end I did manage to make door handles without them splitting.
In the picture on the right you can just about make out the wallpaper 'Trellis' by William Morris. None of the walls, floors or staircases are attached to the house. Against the back walls I have placed false walls so they can easily be removed. Very convenient for putting up wallpaper, painting, hanging lights, hiding electrical wiring, etcetera.
The lights have been bought and painted in a green colour reminiscent of oxidized copper. This is a colour I have used throughout the house.
On the left side of the hall are the double doors to the entry-hall. The doors have been veneered with teak veneer and the door handle and knob made of solid teak. I haven't done anything to the entry-hall yet, so to screen that I've put up some plain curtains behind the glass in the doors.
In the corner is a Chinese vase I brought back from Shanghai. The vase with autumn leaves is sitting on top of an Arts & Crafts console, made by Kari Bloom of Miniton Miniatures.
The console is made of mahogany which has a more reddish colour than the teak, but because of the orange hues in the autumn leaves, the Chinese vase and the Oriental plate, I think they work well together.
Summer 2006: I've had to do a lot of thinking on how to make an 'angled piece' on the banister of the staircase, but I managed to make one! I also made a newel post for the banister, the perfect place to hang your handbag.
Above the door to the Dining Room hangs a watercolour I painted in 2004 'Winter landscape with pollarded willows'. The water colour is 5 x 3,3 cm. Pollarded willows are very characteristic of the Dutch landscape with its meadows and canals.
In the back of the Hall is the staircase to the basement floor where the kitchen can be found. The staircase is hidden from view by a low wall covered with the same wood panelling as in the rest of the Hall.
The next two photos (on the right and below) can be viewed much bigger by clicking on them. They will open in a new page.
The Entrance Hall is visible through the windows of the double doors on the left. While the Entrance Hall was spared during the fire in 1893 (see History'), the Hall had to be completely renewed due to fire and water damage.
The door on the right opens into the Dining Room which also survived the fire of 1893.
The latest addition to the Hall is this beautiful painting depicting 'Ophelia', which I commisioned from Dutch artist Elly Ypma. The original was painted in 1894 by John William Waterhouse.
The frame was made by me in the Pre-Raphaelite style.
The painting looks fantastic in the Hall.
Below the painting is a carved chest by Ann High. The carving depicts a medieval jousting scene.
On the chest are three ginger jars by Elisabeth Causeret and a 16th century style green glass by Gerd Felka.
The Hall is nearly finished. All I have left to do here is finish the ceiling around the opening of the staircase , those type of jobs are always left until last...
Look round the dining room!